Awards and Recognitions are one PR and media opportunity often overlooked by marketing managers and small business owners. Awards opportunities are an excellent way to garner local attention or industry recognition for your company and your employees, and deserve a place in an overall marketing and media strategy.
Award-winning businesses are generally seen as more reputable. Think about it – aren’t you more likely to visit a restaurant that has been recognized by other diners for five star star food or industry experts for five diamond service? The same holds true for professional services and all types of businesses.
Award opportunities exist at many levels – national, regional, industry specific and hyper local. Businesses are recognized for everything from innovation, to technical achievement and product performance Companies are recognized for growth, employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction and community service.
There are numerous professional and membership organizations as well as national business publications that recognize businesses of varied sizes and geographies for revenue growth, workplace satisfaction and corporate citizenship. These categories are often broken down by number of employees, so even the smallest business may have an opportunity to be recognized. Be prepared to show revenue statements to demonstrate year-over-year growth and that may involve verification from your accountant. For workplace awards, the effort there usually goes into employee surveys, so again be prepared for some legwork to provide employee data as well as follow-up on survey submissions.
While there are some so-called awards programs that are purely a cash grab and depend on pay for performance, know that some well-known and respected publications charge an application fee for awards opportunities and copyright fees for the ability for winners to use a badge in their collateral. These fees generally cover costs of reviewing applications and verifying criteria for the award.
Think of Your Peers
Professional service providers, such as attorneys and accountants, are often nominated by peers for prestigious awards. Be a nominator! Reciprocal nominations between colleagues are another way to be sure your firm is included in the accolades.
Take a look at awards your competitors have received, too. You will likely find there are trade publications in your industry that have a nomination or application process for awards that would be a fit for your business. Chambers of Commerce and other trade groups also have annual awards that are worth investigating.
Community newspapers and magazines are also a great source for recognition. Customer feedback surveys are the basis for many local awards. Social media outreach makes fast work of contacting clients and asking them for their support in local surveys. Continued follow-up is most effective for winning the top slots. Ask your biggest fans to get involved.
Whichever level of recognition you decide, go about the process as you would any other public relations task. Determine what amount of work you are willing to put into the application process as well as the follow-up. Are you willing to incur staff time to handle these tasks? Are you willing to follow up as needed with employees, peers or customers? Do you need additional marketing help to maximize the impact of the award?
Once you have won recognition, put the award to work by including any badges on your website, creating a news release, posting about your award on social media. Be sure to make mention in any customer or prospect communications. And remember, you don’t have to take the top prize. Just being included on a prestigious list is worth celebrating!
This post is courtesy of MMC Publicity Manager Malinda Lackey